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Scott Dixon Wins Detroit Grand Prix Opener

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, June 2 2018

Scott Dixon got the victory Saturday afternoon in Detroit. (Photo courtesy of INDYCAR)

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Scott Dixon of Chip Ganasi Racing held off Ryan Hunter-Reay over the final  10 laps and went on to win Saturday’s first race of the weekend’s Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle double-header.

The victory was the first of the season for Dixon, who started the race P2, and the 42nd of his career. It gave him his third straight podium finish in his No. 9 Honda.

“It’s nice to get that first one out of the way,” Dixon said. “We came up a bit short in the last two races but super proud of this team.

“This is awesome. Always good to be back in the winner’s circle. In the IndyCar Series, the competition is just so tough.”

With the win, Dixon moved into a tie with Michael Andretti for third place behind A.J. Foyt (67 wins) and Mario Andretti (52 wins) on the all-time victory list.

Hunter-Reay finished second – 1.8 seconds back – in the No. 28 Andretti Autosport Honda.

“It was real hard” trying to catch Dixon over the final laps, Hunter-Reay said. “That guy is one of the best in the business. We had a good pace on him through (turns) 1, 2 3, for on the restart but after that I just couldn’t make up the gap sitting in his dirty air.”

Finishing third was Hunter-Reay’s teammate, Alexander Rossi in the No. 27 Honda. Fourth was another Andretti driver, pole-sitter Marco Andretti.

“It’s great for Andretti Autosport to be 2-3-4, it’s great for the team,” Rossi said. “I think the No. 27 Ruoff Home Mortgage car had the capability to win, but for whatever reason, after pit stops, we just kept coming out behind a slower car and weren’t able to maximize clean air and fresh tire pace. With that being said, when the last restart happened, I knew we didn’t have the pace for the top two, so sometimes you’ve just got to be content with third. It’s great to be back on the podium, it’s great for the team after a very long month of May.”

Dixon sat at the front of the field with 16 laps to go. But on the next lap, young Santino Ferrucci, who was making his series debut, was spun from behind by Charlie Kimball to bring out a full-course yellow.

“We had a fantastic balance coming out of qualifying,” Ferrucci said. “All the engineers did a fantastic job sorting the car out for me during the race. Once I figured out how to fuel save better, we picked up massive time and we were doing a really good job. We were in great shape to get a potential top 10 finish for my first outing in the Verizon IndyCar Series, so it’s disappointing to get run over like that, but that’s racing and we’ll come back stronger tomorrow.”

Kimball said, “Honestly, that one was on me, because I expected him to be a little more consistent than he was. With a rookie, I should’ve given him more benefit of a doubt.”

The race went green with 10 to go and Hunter-Reay second.

Hunter-Reay hung with Dixon but with five laps to go, fell back to a second behind the leader.

And that was it.

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DETROIT – Results Saturday of the CChevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear Race 1 Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.35-mile Raceway at Belle Isle Park, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (2) Scott Dixon, Honda, 70, Running
2. (5) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 70, Running
3. (4) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 70, Running
4. (1) Marco Andretti, Honda, 70, Running
5. (7) Takuma Sato, Honda, 70, Running
6. (11) Ed Jones, Honda, 70, Running
7. (6) Will Power, Chevrolet, 70, Running
8. (3) Robert Wickens, Honda, 70, Running
9. (14) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 70, Running
10. (12) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 70, Running
11. (9) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 70, Running
12. (16) Zach Veach, Honda, 70, Running
13. (17) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 70, Running
14. (15) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 70, Running
15. (21) Matheus Leist, Chevrolet, 70, Running
16. (20) Jordan King, Chevrolet, 70, Running
17. (13) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 70, Running
18. (19) Gabby Chaves, Chevrolet, 70, Running
19. (22) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 70, Running
20. (10) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 70, Running
21. (23) Rene Binder, Chevrolet, 67, Running
22. (18) Santino Ferrucci, Honda, 55, Contact
23. (8) Graham Rahal, Honda, 45, Contact

Race Statistics:
Winner’s average speed: 99.285 mph
Time of Race: 1:39:24.6189
Margin of victory: 1.8249 seconds
Cautions: 2 for 10 laps
Lead changes: 6 among 4 drivers

Lap Leaders:
Andretti, Marco 1 – 22
Dixon, Scott 23
Rahal, Graham 24 – 25
Hunter-Reay, Ryan 26 – 31
Dixon, Scott 32 – 44
Hunter-Reay, Ryan 45
Dixon, Scott 46 – 70

Verizon IndyCar Series point standings:
Rossi 276, Dixon 272, Power 269, Newgarden 255, Hunter-Reay 227, Wickens 202, Rahal 191, Bourdais 185, Andretti 175, Pagenaud 168.

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, June 2 2018
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